Brethren in Haiti Name Provisional Board, Hold Blessing for First Ministers

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Pastor St. Fleur leads distribution of chicken


Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) distribute canned chicken during a worship celebration at which the church held a blessing for its first ordained and licensed ministers. The canned meat was donated by Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts, and sent to Haiti with help from the Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program and Brethren Disaster Ministries. Click here for a photo album of the visit of a workcamp group to Haiti and other recents events in the life of the church there.

August 25, 2009

Eglise des Freres Haitiens–the Haitian Church of the Brethren–has taken significant steps toward its formal establishment in Haiti with the naming of a Provisional Board, and the blessing of ministerial leadership during a recent ceremony.

Ludovic St. Fleur, Haiti mission coordinator and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla., and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships for the Church of the Brethren, both took part in the ceremony. A workcamp group attending the ceremony also represented the involvement of Brethren Disaster Ministries in mission and church development in Haiti.

A theological training for the Haitian church held Aug. 3-7 closed with the special evening worship service that received Pastor Yves Jean as the first ordained minister of Eglise des Freres Haitiens. The Church of the Brethren accepted his ordination as a transfer from another denomination.

Six people were licensed to ministry at the service: Telfort Jean Billy, Telfort Romy, Ely Frenie, Dieupanou St. Brave, Altenor Jean Gesurand, and Altenor Duvelus. The licensed ministers also received the blessing of laying on of hands. Those who had completed the theological training received certificates.

The teaching team for the theological training seminar was led by Haiti mission coordinator Ludovic St. Fleur, pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla., and also included two Brethren pastors from the Dominican Republic–Mardouchee Catalice, who is of Haitian background, and Onelys Rivas Florentino, who is of Dominican background. Also on the team were Andy and Laura Hamilton of East Canton, Ohio. Andy Hamilton is pastor of Akron (Ohio) Springfield Church of the Brethren and serves on the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. Ilexene Alfonse and Michaela Camps of Miami, Fla., helped translate for the teaching team.

Canned chicken donated from the meat canning project of Southern Pennsylvania District and Mid-Atlantic District was distributed during the service, evidence of the active collaboration between the Haitian Brethren, Global Mission Partnerships, and Brethren Disaster Ministries. The canned chicken was shipped to Haiti through the church’s Material Resources program and Brethren Disaster Ministries, as part of ongoing disaster relief work in Haiti following the four hurricanes and tropical storms that caused massive destruction there last year.

The workcamp group was led by Jeff Boshart, Haiti disaster response coordinator, and Klebert Exceus, a Haitian consultant from Orlando, Fla. The workcampers were David Bradley of Lebanon, Pa.; Steve Ditzler of Lebanon, Pa.; James Eby of Litiz, Pa.; Ecclesiaste Frederick of Miami, Fla.; Wanda Lyons of Glade Valley, N.C.; Joel Postma of La Porte, Ind.; and Brad Yoder of North Manchester, Ind. The group was accompanied by members of Exceus’ family, Pastor Catalice, and Pastor Florentino.

On the morning after the ordination and licensing service, Wittmeyer met with leaders of the Haitian church and the group established a provisional board for its new organization. The group elected leaders: Telfort Jean Billy of Croix de Bouquet Church of the Brethren was named as chair; Ely Frenie of Cap Haitian Church of the Brethren was named secretary; and Telfort Romy of Gonaives Church of the Brethren was named treasurer.

Go to for a photo album of the Haiti Workcamp.

Go to for more about the Church of the Brethren mission in Haiti, and ways to support it.

Go to for more about the disaster response project in Haiti.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact  to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“Faces of Faith: The Rev. Tim Speicher,” Reading (Pa.) Eagle (Aug. 26, 2009). A profile of pastor Tim Speicher, who has served Wyomissing (Pa.) Church of the Brethren for 18 years. A photo features the pastor in his study, with favorite baseball memorabilia.

Obituary: Thomas D. Irvine, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Aug. 23, 2009). Thomas Davidson “Tommy” Irvine, 79, passed away on Aug. 21 at Augusta Health. He was a member of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren in Crimora, Va. He worked in sheet metal, and was a supervisor with Wayne Manufacturing, working on ship interiors. He retired from ACME Visible Records in Crozet. He was preceded in death by his wife, Louise Benson Irvine.

“Thieves Target Four Area Churches,” Times-Union, Warsaw, Ind. (Aug. 22, 2009). North Winona Church of the Brethren in Warsaw, Ind., was one of four area churches to suffer break-ins on Aug. 21. At the North Winona Church, a day-care worker discovered a cabinet open and glass broken in the building, cabinets and desks were rifled through, but nothing was stolen.

“Church will sponsor workshops to help local job seekers,” Canton (Ohio) Repository (Aug. 21, 2009). Hartville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren will hold a series of informational and training workshops aimed at helping people in tough economic times.

“A new perspective,” McPherson (Kan.) Sentinel (Aug. 20, 2009). An interview with Michael Schneider, the new president of McPherson (Kan.) College, by staff writer Todd Flory who has worked previously as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Church of the Brethren General Offices. Schneider is a 1996 graduate of McPherson and most recently served as the college’s vice president of advancement and admissions.

“Man of faith brings cows, hope to war-torn Europe,” Springfield (Ohio) News Sun (Aug. 16, 2009). It didn’t matter that he was a pig farmer who lived on Detrick Jordan Pike. When Fred Teach boarded the American Importer on Aug. 12, 1953, bound for Bremen, Germany — with heifers under the deck — he became one of the Church of the Brethren’s “Sea Going Cowboys.”

“A stitch in time…” Franklin County (Va.) News Post (Aug. 14, 2009). Columnist Charles Boothe remembers the quilting bees of his childhood, and compares them to the artistry of the quilts sold at this year’s World Hunger Auction at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. Some quilts sold for upwards of $700 or $800, with proceeds benefiting a variety of programs for hunger relief.

“Not Just a ‘Spare Tire.'” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (Aug. 12, 2009). At age 92, longtime pastor Olen B. Landes puts a variety of talents to work for the faith. Landes describes himself in the humblest of terms. “I’m just a spare tire,” he said. His simple assessment refers to the years he’s spent filling in for fulltime preachers at Church of the Brethren services–“supply work,” as he calls it.

Obituary: Jimmie D. Conway, Salem (Ohio) News (Aug. 12, 2009). Jimmie D. Conway, 74, died on Aug. 10 at the Hospice House in North Lima, Ohio, after a battle with cancer. He was a member of Woodworth Church of the Brethren in Youngstown, Ohio. He was employed at McKay Machine Shop in Youngstown, Borden Dairy in Boardman as a milkman in home delivery, retiring after 43 years as a distribution manager; and while working for Borden received his Ohio Police Officers training and became a police officer for Beaver Township, ending his tenure as police chief. Survivors include his wife, Barbara (Lewis) Conway, whom he married in 1955.

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]